Are you up for the challenge?

The telltale signs of the holiday season are beginning to adorn Chatham-Kent as lights are strung and fires are lit in homes across the municipality, but the stark reality is that for many, there are no windows to hang lights on; no cozy rooms kept warm by a crackling fire. In a year that saw a record number of homes being sold, constructed or renovated in CK, homelessness, mental health issues and addiction have increased in record numbers as well. And a group of local businesses are committed to stepping up and doing something about it.

Maple City Homes Ltd., Sacwal Flooring Centres & The Lighting Shoppe, Windmill Cabinet Shop Ltd., CKXS Radio, and the Chatham Kent Association of REALTORS® are pleased to team up to raise money for the Because We Care holiday challenge in support of the United Way of Chatham-Kent’s 12 Days of Giving, and they are opening up the challenge to all, asking you to:

1. Donate to the Because We Care challenge

2. Create a video challenging someone else to join

3. Post and share that video on your social channels!

Trevor Mailloux, Director of Maple City Homes Ltd. says, “Maple City Homes recognizes that homelessness is the tip of the iceberg. Prior to (losing housing), some people faced trauma that left them with mental health issues. For some, those issues led to addiction. Mental health support is a basic human need – our systems need time to get ahead and respond. Mental health is our number one concern, this year and for the coming years ahead.”

Alanna Aarssen, President of Sacwal Flooring Centres and The Lighting Shoppe knew this was a challenge they wanted to help lead immediately: “We at Sacwal Flooring and The Lighting Shoppe are so very happy to be a part of this campaign. We care about the community and tackling the issues we face. Where help is needed, we want to be there, whether that is through breakfast programs so children don’t go to school hungry, supporting food banks so families can put food on the table or supporting programs that help people through the challenges of mental illness, addiction or homelessness.”

Windmill Cabinet Shop Ltd.’s Will Holsappel agreed. “The need for shelter, security, mental health support and addiction support are real and present in Chatham-Kent and there’s lots of room for help. Windmill is proud to support those committed to a healthy and thriving Chatham-Kent, which includes connecting each other with people who can meet those needs.”

Laura Tourangeau, President of Chatham Kent Association of REALTORS® says “This is where we work. This is where we live. This is our community. We need to give back when there is a need. Safe places to live are the bedrock upon which our communities are built; they contribute to a strong civic life; economic, business and employment stability; and family security. It is for this reason that we must also commit ourselves to providing housing options other than home ownership and find solutions that ensure everyone has access to safe and supportive services.”

“The true number of unhoused people in Chatham-Kent would be shocking to the residents of our community,” says CKXS’s Greg Hetherington, and adds there’s no one reason why homelessness occurs. “The people you see on the street could be there for various reasons: mental health issues, leaving violent relationships—or they just can’t afford a place to stay. The time is now for us to step up, and help.”

#BecauseWeCareCK #UnitedWayCK #12DaysOfGiving